In late September 2008, Mr. Pirate & I took a weekend adventure to the coast of California, Point Reyes to be exact. One of our stops along the way was the exceedingly small hamlet of Inverness. (You may read of that specific stop at this page or if you want,you can start at the beginning of the adventure.)
The gift store that we perused was called "Bellwether". Sadly, the store doesn't have a web presence nor an email. I had purchased a nice sized tablecloth, made in India, at the store, since I liked the colors and the design. It was one of those block-printed designs, not terribly accurate, but nice none-the-less.
My intent was to make this into a quilt; it has the look and feel of a very complicated center medallion, surrounded by complex borders but is, in fact, a whole cloth. I could legitimately cheat! :-) Hmmm .. maybe I should call this my Adult Cheater's Quilt ... or would that convey the Wrong Idea? :-)
Because the printed design was so busy and intricate, I decided that I would attempt to follow the curvilinar design lines as the quilting path, in a matching color thread. The result, if I was successful, would be that you wouldn't be able to see the quilting on the front at all. This would allow the printed design to be showcased and not obscured by any quilting motifs.
However, the actual quilting can be easily seen on the back.
We now fast-forward to 2009 ... after Thanksgiving, after Christmas, after a commissioned client quilt in January and after quilting (only) another client quilt in early February, I started working on this quilt top.
I ripped out the double-fold hem (very nicely done, too!), ironed the fabric smooth and loaded it onto Lizzie. I used simple muslin for the backing and a low-loft polyester batting. Superior's So Fine in 3 different colors was used on the top and in white for the bobbin. (I don't have any Bottom Line, otherwise, I would have used that.)
Free motion on a longarm whilst trying to follow pre-determined lines is not a simple issue. While my quilting on this quilt isn't show quality, I am very pleased with my efforts. Eventhough the back-tracking isn't a single line and goes outside of the printed design at times, it's not half-bad. :-)
The half-circles in the final, outer border were done with acrylic circles as templates, purchased at my local TAP Plastics store. They weren't *exactly* the size I needed to *precisely* fit the length of the border, but it was close enough. Besides, I don't think I could get an exact fit unless I was buying a custom, oddball size circle that wouldn't fit anything else. In this particular case, I'm getting better at using templates. :-)
I finally put my new toy .. er, tool, the Line Tamer, to good use. Although I do have a straight edge ruler, I found it difficult to maintain a nice straight line with Lizzie using it. The Line Tamer works *fantastic*! As you can see from their website, it has a long slot channel that surrounds the hopping foot on 3 sides, making it exceedingly easy to control where the hopping foot is going. Sewing long straight (or mostly straight) lines without a channel lock capability was as easy as falling off a log. If there had been seams in this top, I would have been doing a LOT of stitch in the ditch! As it is, it merely LOOKS like I did it. I suspect that doing outline work around applique designs will be just as easy.
The binding posed a small problem. I had originally wanted a blue, close in color to the border so that the binding would blend into the quilt. While I had the perfect, absolutely PERFECT piece of yardage in my stash, it turned out to be not large enough ... it wouldn't yield as much binding as I needed to go around the quilt. Secondly, it was late at night; all the stores were closed, so dashing out that very minute was out of the question. Besides, as difficult as this may seem to some, I really did NOT want to buy any more fabric. I wanted to use what I had in my stash.
Therefore, I went to Plan B: a contrast binding would have to do. I found enough yardage in a tan shade of the same color family as the outer border background. Not my first choice, but it works. More importantly: The Quilt is DONE! :-)
oh .. except for the label that is. I need to do the Bubble Jet Set thing on some muslin first.
date: much later in February. The label is now completed! Ta Da! This quilt has passed our household's Feline Quality Control Advisory Board testing and can now also be successfully used by humans. When the cats aren't sleeping on it. :-)